I blog about environmental and social justice issues because I am very concerned about the health of the interdependent web of life of which we are a part.

Melting Arctic ice.......beautiful and frightening!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Ethics of Climate Change

I am a Unitarian Universalist.   Recently , our minister preached  - yes, big surprise - that's what ministers do!  She explored  the subject of " neighbours."

Well, I believe that we are all connected - people, animals, insects, viruses, plants, fungi, stars - you get the idea.   So my answer to the question "Who is  my neighbour? "   is -  everyone and everything.  Therefore, it behooves me to look after my nieghbour - or not to actively harm them.   Therefore, I must  act to prevent  climate change as well as work to persuade others of the necessity of acting.

I'm not the only person who has arrived at this conclusion.
Climate change is changing our world. Not only is it changing our physical world, but also our intellectual, social, and moral worlds, in ways that we could not have imagined a  generation or two ago. The science of climate change, and the political impasses associated  with dealing with it, demonstrate that we are in a profoundly unsafe, interdependent, and uncertain world....[Therefore] be willing to take an ethical stand on climate change.  There is no place to hide form this....Regard economics as being about provisioning - that is, the way socities organize themselves to provide for the sustaining and flourishing of life. http://www.e3network.org/papers/Ethics_and_the_Economist_033111.pdf
So what do I do to live ethically and to prevent and mitigate climate change?

Little and big - in no particular order:
  • I walk to work.  If you cannot do that, take transit.  Or car pool! If everyone drove to work with one aother person, you'd reduce vehicles on the road by one -half and greenhouse gas emissions accordingly.
  • I shop at the local farmers' market and freeze and preserve food  for the winter.  Trucking and flying goods generates a lot of greenhouse gases.
  • I am a vegetarian.  Eating meat raised in the agri biz is not only cruel to animals, and  destructive to the environment,  but the industry  generates almost 20 % of the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
  • I buy fair trade food.  (OK - it's trucked in  -but at least shade grown coffee doesn't destroy the environment. And as soon as I find coffee that arrives om the Bluenose, I'll buy that.)
  • We have cut our electrical bill to one- half its former total by turning off lights/ appliances/ clock radios  and installing CFLs.  We replaced our washer , dryer , and dishwasher with European models that use very little electricity or water.
  • We(me and my partner)  turn our heat backto 15 C at night and up to 17 C during the daytime.  Walking around in a sweater isn't a hardship.  And snuggling is fun!
  • We installed a solar hot water heater.   Lots of susnshine in the Interior of BC.
  • We don't fly anywhere.
  • I write letters to politicans and urge them to to take action on climate change ( and perahps salvage Canada's reputation in the process.)  
  • We donate to climate action groups.
  • We help organize climate change rallies and vigils - in fact, we volunteer a lot of time.  Not only do we work for a good cause, we enlarge our community of friends.  And have fun.
  • I educate myself  on the issue and on the psychology of climate change denial.
  • I meditate to grow my loving kindness and to generate more love in the world.
Anyone can do some of these things.  I / we didn't begin by doing all of them at once. Just begin! 

If you can only choose one, please choose creating more love in the world - for yourself as well as all others. After all, Gandhi said  "Be the change you want to see in the world."   I say once we learn to love the world and ourselves, we will not destroy it  - we will  create a velvet climate revolution.

PS The picture was taken at a candlelight vigil for the Copenhagen Conference - the action was suggested by the folks at
http://www.350.org/             Check the website out - lots of ideas for actions in the fall of 2011.

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